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IRCTC ticketing revenue fell by half during pandemic: govt

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The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation, which does online ticketing for Indian Railways, saw its ticketing revenue for FY2020-21 drop by around 56%, the government revealed in a Parliamentary response. In the first eleven months of the financial year ending March 2021, the ticketing revenues amounted to Rs 14,915 crore, a 56% decrease year over year. In FY2019-20, earnings increased 6% over the previous financial year. This gels with an overall reduction in passenger revenue, which in December 2020 was down a staggering 87%. Online ticketing revenues are likely to have suffered less because in-person ticket booking remains viable due to its lower price and wider reach.

Ticketing is IRCTC’s main source of revenue. The fees the PSU collects on online bookings are not refundable. 3,982,541 tickets were booked for cancelled trains on IRCTC during the initial months of the pandemic, according to an RTI filed by MediaNama — IRCTC refunded the fares on those bookings, but did not refund the commission it charges on online bookings. It is not clear how much money it made from cancelled train bookings — IRCTC declined to reveal that information to MediaNama, and demanded a payment of Rs 35,400 for “data extraction charges”.

On the B2B side, though, the collection has increased. “Collection of freight charges through e-payment has gone up from 76.16% last year (2019-20) to 83.77% in the current financial year (2020-21),” the government said in its response. The government was responding to queries from DMK MP S. Gnanathiraviam.

Full question and answer

Will the Minister of RAILWAYS be pleased to state:

(a) whether it is a fact that the IRCTC website is garnering huge revenue for the Railways;

(b) if so, the revenue generated during the last two years through IRCTC website especially with regard to passenger booking;

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(c) whether it is also true that Railways uses IT infrastructure for unreserved ticketing system serving crores of passengers;

(d) if so, whether it is also true that e-payment is also received towards freight operations; and

(e) if so, the details thereof?

ANSWERS

(a) & (b): IRCTC e-ticketing website provides the facility of online booking of reserved tickets on Indian Railways. Revenue generated during the last two years through IRCTC website with regard to passengers booking is as under:

(c) to (e) : Yes, Sir. Railway uses IT infrastructure for the vital areas of customer interface. Unreserved tickets are booked on the Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS) application. E-payment facility is provided to freight customers for collection of freight charges and Wagon Registration Fee. Collection of freight charges through e-payment has gone up from 76.16% last year (2019-20) to 83.77% in the current financial year (2020-21).

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